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A Big Name Eyes the Ad Blocking Market

Google is poised to offer an ad blocker built in to its Chrome browser

June 5, 2017

Google is poised to enter the ad blocking arena, with plans to offer a built-in ad blocker for its Chrome browser next year.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the new tool will be more of a quality assurance feature that will block pop-up windows and alert users when they may be exposed to content that could harm their devices.

In addition to the new filter, Google will also reportedly offer a new tool called Funding Choices, which will let publishers display messages asking users to disable their own third-party ad blockers—or pay up to go ad-free.

Essentially, the new Chrome filter won’t allow any ads deemed unacceptable by the Coalition for Better Ads.

Those standards may not satisfy all internet users, according to eMarketer analyst Nicole Perrin. The standards mean that autoplay audio would be blocked, she said, but the ads that can slow downloads via multiple calls for scripts would still be allowed. “That’s a really big factor in blocking,” she added.

“Unless the Coalition for Better Ads standards also include ‘lightness,’ like the IAB Lean standards do, this may not be quite the user experience improvement people really want,” she said.

According to eMarketer estimates, ad blocking in the US will grow by double digits this year and next.

eMarketer defines an ad blocker as an internet user of any age who accesses the web at least once a month via any device that has an ad blocker enabled. This year, eMarketer expects 32.0% of US internet users will use an ad blocker.

US Ad Blocking Users and Penetration, 2014-2017

“Publishers are aware of the experience issues and higher-quality publishers are working to improve it on their own sites, but they’re still stuck asking ad blocking visitors to turn off a blocker, and there’s friction to that,” said Perrin.

Google is trying to solve the fragmentation issues, and Perrin notes, they are one of the few players big enough to have a chance at success.

But she doesn’t expect many users to opt to pay for content. “I don’t think there will be a lot of revenues from the Funding Choices program, because I’m skeptical many people will pay.”

eMarketer analysts Karin von Abrams and Bill Fisher talk about ad blocking in Western Europe, which countries block ads the most and what media owners can do about it, in the latest episode of Behind the Numbers.

Rimma Kats

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